Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. I’m new to the forum. Actually new to the whole scene. But I’ve researching for awhile now on which dog breed would be best for my family. Well, while at work an elderly couple asked if I’d like to take their 3yo German Shepard service dog. They can no longer care for her. It’s a beautiful healthy female. My concern is my lack of knowledge. She is 3yo and also a service dog. Would she migrate into a family with little ones? And also not performing the service that she was trained for? Which I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to be rude, especially if I’m not sure of the decision yet. Any help and insight would be much appreciated.
Thanks
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
242 Posts
Dogs can mesh pretty well with their circimstances. I think it would work out with you guys, as long as she is properly exersised. I've never owned a GSD before, but I do believe they do well with kids.. otherwise See if you can find a breed specific rescue to handle her, maybe you can even donate her since she is a service dog (I don't know how that works...) Have the dogs owners contatced the people they got the dog from? They might be happy to take the dog back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
It takes a lot of time & $ to train a service dog & the dog is only 3 - so has years of service left. There is also years long waiting lists for service dogs. They need to contact the organization or trainer they got the dog the dog from to see about getting the dog rehome with someone who needs a service dog. It is likely even in the contract if they got the service dog from an organization to return the dog to them if they are unable to care for it.

It may make a good family dog. But it would greatly improve the life of someone with disabilities to get a trained service dog - so ideally it should go to a service dog home at age 3.

(If the dog was older or had health conditions, then my answer would be different.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,768 Posts
Eh, I wouldn't assume the dog can/should go to someone else with a disability. Many service dogs in the US are owner trained to help very specific conditions/symptom combinations, and even two people with the same disability might have vastly different needs in a service dog. And it's entirely possible the the dog isn't a service dog, but an ESA or even therapy animal. Or she performs a service at home, but isn't public access trained. Or isn't working out as a service dog at all, which is why the current owners are looking to rehome (failed service dogs can be great pets, of course, but this is a possibility I'd consider with such a young service dog being rehomed). Of course if she's a program dog they need to abide by that program's contract re: rehoming, but many many US service dogs aren't connected to any program.

Rytry, without knowing these people or this dog well, I'd just look at this like you're thinking of taking on a dog that has some training and probably good house manners/potty manners, but the rest is a bit of an unknown. Shepherds can be wonderful family dogs, and I would expect a dog that has been fully and successfully trained as a SD, including public access, and has been working successfully to be very stable and comfortable in new situations, but some shepherds can be more on the nervy and sensitive side. Because you don't know for sure what kind of work this dog's been doing and how well she does it, it's really hard to make assumptions about where her personality might fall. Treat it like any adoption/rehome: ask questions. You don't need to pry about their disability, of course! Just ask about her general behavior and personality, maybe take a walk with her and them (or offer to take her yourself) so you can see how she does outside (usually a more exciting and less predictable environment for dogs, though it depends on the area of course), have her meet your kids in a park or other neutral space, etc. to get a better idea about her, personally.

She may or may not be a dog who needs a 'job', but dog jobs don't need to be one specific thing (being a service dog, in this case). It might be training for a sport, walking/hiking with a safe weighted backpack, or just learning fun tricks so they can do things around the house like finding objects you ask for, picking up trash, grabbing dirty laundry to hand you, fetching your kids when you ask, etc! She may have a head start on that last part - these kinds of behaviors are frequently used as service dog tasks, though of course it depends on the needs of the handler.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
367 Posts
What kind of service dog would be my first question. A guide dog for the blind would be very different from a dog for the deaf, from a dog that provides emotional support. First I'd want to know all that. Then if those answers were encouraging, I'd see about visiting the dog in her current home and spending time with her, taking her for walks, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,768 Posts
What kind of service dog would be my first question. A guide dog for the blind would be very different from a dog for the deaf, from a dog that provides emotional support. First I'd want to know all that. Then if those answers were encouraging, I'd see about visiting the dog in her current home and spending time with her, taking her for walks, etc.
Just make sure you're asking about what tasks the dog performs, rather than asking questions that make the current owners feel like they have to explain their disability to you! Especially when you're first feeling things out. A lot of disabled people (and service dog handlers especially, since they're very visible in public) get questions daily about very personal things about their medical history and life, even from people who are well-meaning and just don't understand how invasive that can be because they haven't lived through it themselves. So just keep the conversation dog-centric and accept vague answers like "she's a medical alert dog" or "she fetches things for me", and you'll be fostering a more comfortable and respectful relationship while you figure out the rehoming process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,787 Posts
First and foremost is, if they got the dog from an organization, what are their legal obligations concerning placing the dog? They may be required to return the dog for the organization to place in a pet home (their puppy raisers frequently get first dibs on a retired or career change dog) or pair with another partner.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3GSD4IPO

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Assuming the dog is not a highly trained service dog from an organization that supplies such dogs, I would consider the following.

What is YOUR life style? Are you willing to come home from work and take the dog and do something physically active and mentally stimulating with him for an hour or more every day? These dogs are a working breed and can need a LOT of stimulation (if the dog was a different breed, would this couple need to get rid of him?). Is the reason for rehoming due to him being "too much dog?" What is the dog's breeding? Is he a working line dog or is he a show line (American or German or working Czech or DDR or West German Working etc. as the differences can be significant). do you have kids? do you have a lot of friends in and out of your home? do you live in a place where if the dog barks while you are at work there is no problem? Where do you see yourself in 5 years with a dog that will still need quite a lot of stimulation? Will your homeowner's policy still cover you if you have a German Shepherd dog? If you find the dog isn't as well trained as represented are you willing to spend money to go to training classes and do your training homework?

German Shepherds can also be "one person dogs." This was much more common 20 years ago. A one person dog who is rehomed often will not transfer loyalty. They can be trained to work, but they will always be looking for that One Person they are loyal to (I had such a dog). They also are not dogs (generally) that want to be friends with every one in the world.. they are not Golden Retrievers.. so if you have friends over are you willing to put the dog up (crate or separate room)?

I find the German Shepherd the finest breed of dog to own but they are not dogs that will lay on the couch and watch TV and not expect exercise, mental stimulation and training.

Good Luck with your decision!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top